Border Incident

Synopsis: To penetrate a gang exploiting illegal Mexican farmworkers smuggled into California (and leaving no live witnesses), Mexican federal agent Pablo Rodriguez poses as an ignorant bracero, while his American counterpart Jack Bearnes works from outside. Soon, both are in deadly danger from the ringleader, sinister rancher Owen Parkson, and find night on the farm to be full of shadowy film-noir menace...
Director(s): Anthony Mann
Rotten Tomatoes:
94 min

Here is the All-American Canal.

It runs through the desert for miles

along the California-Mexico border.

A monument to the vision of man,

the canal is the life-giving artery of water...

...that feeds the vast farm empire

of the Imperial Valley of Southern California.

Out of this desert wasteland, man's industry

has made a flourishing garden.

Farming in Imperial Valley

is a great industry.

Here, a single field of prosaic carrots

or lettuce or flax or melons...

...may be worth a half million dollars.

This great agricultural empire is important

to the entire United States.

Nature never waits.

When the crops are ready,

they must be harvested.

This means manpower...

...a vast army of farm workers

who must be available when needed.

And this army of workers comes from

our neighbor to the south, from Mexico.

For the Imperial Valley of California... many other farm areas

of the great Southwest... almost entirely dependent

on Mexican labor.

These workers prepare the land

and harvest the food for our tables.

And so all along the border,

from Texas to California...

...Mexican farm workers...

Braceros, they are called...

...meaning "those who work

with their hands and arms. "

- are waiting on the Mexican side

to be okayed... receive the coveted American

work permits or crossing cards.

Most of these braceros obey

the laws of both countries...

...and wait at the border to enter

the United States legally...

...under the treaty between the Mexican

and American governments.

But there are other braceros who come

and go illegally, who jump the fence.

These Mexican illegal entrants work

in the United States for a while...

...and upon returning to Mexico are often

robbed of their savings by bandits...

...who infest both sides of the border.

It is this problem of human suffering

and injustice about which you should know.

The following composite case

is based upon factual information...

...supplied by the Immigration

and Naturalization Service...

...of the United States

Department of Justice.

These brutal murders

of defenseless braceros...

...the latest of a number

along the border...

...spur two governments

to new and drastic efforts.

From Mexico City come

Colonel Rafael Alvarado...

...a high official in

the Polica Judicial Federal...

...the FBI of Mexico...

...and Pablo Rodriguez,

one of the PJF's foremost investigators.

From Washington come...

...Assistant Commissioner of Immigration

John McReynolds...

...and Inspector Jack Bearnes...

...who has just finished a tour of duty

along the Gulf.

These officials of Mexico

and of the United States...

...arrive for a meeting at

the governor's palace in Mexicali...

...across the border

from the California town of Calexico.

We are not talking

about bloody shirts or torn hats.

We're not talking about that at all.

We are talking about the people

who lived and died in these clothes.

I know that, sir, but if they cross illegally,

what is our responsibility to them?

Most of my people do not cross illegally.

Those who come over with work permits,

we protect.

As a matter of fact, most of the ranchers

on our side obey these work treaties.

They take certified farm workers

and pay them legal wages.

These things we know, but some

of my people, they are not well-educated.

They allow themselves

to be smuggled across.

I know. And some of my people

pay them half wages...

...conceal them from arrest,

make them live in fear...

...and send them back to the desert

to be robbed and killed.

Since these people work together

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John C. Higgins

John C. Higgins (April 28, 1908 – July 2, 1995) was an American screenwriter. During the 1930s and early 1940s, the Winnipeg, Canada-born scribe worked on mostly complex murder mystery films, including the Spencer Tracy film Murder Man (1935). During the late 1940s, Higgins continued to pen thrillers, including semidocumentary-style films, including director Anthony Mann's He Walked By Night, Raw Deal, T-Men and Border Incident. Higgins also wrote horror films like the Basil Rathbone starrer The Black Sleep (1956) and Higgins last film Daughters of Satan (1972). Higgins also wrote the science fiction film Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and the adventure film Impasse (1969). more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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    "Border Incident" STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 18 Apr. 2021. <>.

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